Exploring the Dimensionality of “Religiosity” and “Spirituality” in the Fetzer Multidimensional Measure

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Abstract:

Reliable and valid measures of religiosity and spiritual dimensions appropriate for ethnically diverse groups are needed. I examine the factor structure of the relatively new Fetzer multidimensional measure (Fetzer Institute 1999). Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) of national data collected in the 1998 General Social Survey are conducted to (1) test the fit of the proposed dimensionality of the Fetzer measure, specifically comparing the Fetzer structure with a simpler single-factor model suggested by preliminary exploratory factor analyses; and (2) evaluate ethnic differences in factor structure of the Fetzer items. Data from 1,201 adults, 1,019 whites and 182 African Americans, are examined to compare the fit of the multidimensional Fetzer model against an alternative single-factor (“unitary spirituality”) model. CFA analyses indicated that only the Fetzer models had acceptable fit indices (NFI and/or NNFI approaching or reaching 0.90). Ethnic differences in loadings, while significant, were not substantively different. These findings suggest that a multidimensional measure like the Fetzer is useful for multiethnic research and that combining the daily spirituality and values/beliefs dimensions into a single factor provides a simpler model overall (compared to the Fetzer model separating these dimensions out) while providing acceptable fit.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2006.00318.x

Affiliations: James Alan Neff is Professor of Community and Environmental Health in the College of Health Sciences, 3136 Technology Building, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529., Email: janeff@odu.edu

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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